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I trust, preaching Christ in this great city and in this church, but he was afterwards sent to a desert place. Philip found himself alone in the desert. He had before been preaching in the crowded city. Presently he sees a chariot, and the Holy Spirit of God arrests the attention of his servant, and commands him to join him. self to that chariot-there he finds an Ethiopian peer-one of great authority, under Candace, Ethiopia's Queen, who was reading in his chariot that great chapter in the 53rd of Isaiah-a chapter full of a crucified Saviour-the chapter in the Old Testa. ment that might be called “The Jobn of the Prophecies." We find him reading that memorable passage.—“ He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and like a lamb dumb before his shearer so opened he not his mouth ; in His humiliation His judgment was taken away and who shall declare his generation, for His life is taken from the earth.” And the eunuch answered Philip and said :-“I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this—of himself or of some other man p" See how ignorant he was then. Then Philip opened his mouth and began at th same Scripture, and preached unto him JESUS; and after he baptised him we are told that the eunuch saw Philip no more, and he went on his way rejoicing, realising the very fact that I am endeavouring to insist upon to you that a sinner who savingly and really catches a glimpse of a crucified and risen Saviour must go on his way REJOICING! And I can feel a real joy in my heart, now, that he has enabled me to preach him I trust to the people assembled here, and because he has made me a sen. sible sinner-deeply feeling my own sin, and led me to the foot of the cross of his dear Son, to seek the pardon of all my sin. Oh! that I may now have so preached that the subject may drop into your hearts - that GOD may make me such an instrument
to your souls that you may go out of the door of this church, as the Ethiopian went his
way rejoicing in Christ, THE SAVIOUR ! I hope that what I have said in weakness may be clothed with power, and be so blest as to be the means of sifting this full church-of sifting the crowds now before me-of sifting you crowded together in these pews and in these aisles—aye, and searching the man in the pulpit too to know whether you and I are of the one sect that shall get safe to Heaven. We are “the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” I find at times, my hearers, when the preaching is over, that the text is sometimes made a great blessing. As you go home to-night, or, to-morrow, it may be, in the midst of your business the grace of God may arrest you, and the text you have heard to-night may occur to your minds, and you may ask yourselves-—"Am I one of the true Church of God (whether a Churchman or a Nonconformist); am I a circumcisionist ? and do I know that in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but a new creature."
The particular and special subject that has brought me to-night into this pulpit, is the same as that which I advocated bere two years ago from the spot I now stand in-the Christian Blind Society. I believe that appeal was not then without a blessing. I believe, without any boasting, that my feeble advocacy on that occasion did, under God, tend to benefit the society. I am a bad beggar, but it will be sufficient for me to tell you that the object that has brought us together is to aid the Christian Blind Society. Now, if among those that are almonised by that society, there be any of the household of faith, or if they be all the children of God (and that is a point between God and their own souls) remember the word—that if you give a cup of cold water only to them “because ye belong to Christ,” or inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren (said Christ), " ye have done it unto ME.” Now, surely I have no occasion to say a word more. Whilst, therefore, I plead for the blind, that their temporal and carnal ne. cessities may be supplied ; and while I ask you to give a little of that gold and silver that is not your own (for “the silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,” saith the Lord of Hosts), listen to what God has ne for you, if you are one of his people, and are now open-eyed to see Christ as your all-What did he give Christ for ? To open the eyes of the blind. He may have done so in one single instance bere to-night! Who can tell but that I may have been the instrument now of opening the eyes of one sinner to know what he never knew before. «To open the blind eyes—to bring out the prisoners from the prison—them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house. I am the Lord, that is My Name, and My glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images." Ob! He is a jealous God-His glory He will not give to another-He will Himself have it all. Allow me, then, to place this society before you—may God enable you to help its cause. But above all ! beyond all !! may you know what it is to have the eye of the soul opened to see yourselves verily guilty, and tracing your interest in the blood of Christ, to see your sins all atoned for, and yourselves members of His mystical body. May you be enabled to come up to the standard I have now feebly set forth before you of what THE CHURCH of God really is, and be satisfied with nothing less than Christ crucified set up in a broken heart. “The Spirit beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” May God command the blessing, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
LOOKING UNTO JESUS.
REV. C. H. SPURGEON,
"They looked unto him, and were lightened : and their faces were not ashamed.”—Psalm xxxiv. 5. From the connection we are to understand the pronoun “him” as referring to the word “Lord” in the preceding verse. "They looked unto the Lord Jehovah, and were lightened.” But no man ever yet looked to Jehovah God, as he is in himself, and found any comfort in him, for “our God is a consuming fire.” An absolute God, apart from the Lord Jesus Christ, can afford no comfort whatever to a troubled heart. We may look to him, and we shall be blinded, for the light of Godhead is insufferable, and as mortal eye cannot fix its gaze upon the sun, no human intellect could ever look unto God, and find light, for the brightness of God would strike the eye of the mind with eternal blindness. The only way in which we can see God is through the Mediator Jesus Christ.
« Till God in human flesh I see,
My thoughts no comfort find, -" God shrouded and veiled in the manhood, there we can with steady gaze behold him, for so he cometh down to us, and our poor finite intelligence can understand and lay hold upon him. I shall therefore use my text this morning, and I think very legitimately, in reference to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ—" They looked unto him, and were lightened;" for when we look at God, as revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord, and behold the Godhead as it is apparent in the Incarnate Man, who was born of the Virgin Mary, and was crucified by Pontius Pilate, we do see that which enlightens the niind, and casts rays of comfort into our awakened heart.
And now this morning, I shall first invite you, in order to illustrate my text, to look to Jesus Christ in his life on earth, and I hope there are some of you who will be lightened by that. We shall then look to him on his cross. Afterwards we shall look to him in his resurrection. We shall look to him in his intercession; and lastly, we shall look to him in his second coming; and it may be, as with faithful eye we look upon him, the verse shall be fulfilled in our experience, which is the best proof of a truth, when we prove it to be true in our own hearts, We shall “ look unto him" and we shall “ be lightened."
1. First, then, we shall LOOK TO THE LORD JESUS CARIST IN HIS LIFE. And here the troubled saint will find the most to enlighten him. In the example, in the patience, in the sufferings of Jesus Christ, there are stars of glory to cheer the midnight darkness of the sky of your tribulation. Come hither, ye children of God, and whatever now are your distresses, whether they be temporal or spiritual, you shall, in the life of Jesus Christ and his sufferings, find sufficient to cheer and comfort you, if the Holy Spirit shall now open your eyes to look unto him. : Perhaps I have among my congregation, indeed I am sure I have, some who are plunged in the depths of poverty. You are the children of toil; with much sneat of your brow you eat your bread; the heavy yoke of oppression galls your neck; perhaps at this time you are suffering the very extremity of hunger; you are
pinched with famine, and though in the house of God, your body complains, for you feel that you are brought very low. Look unto Him, thou poor distressed brother in Jesus; look unto Him, and be lightened.
“Why dost thou complain of want or distress,
Temptation or pain?—he told thee Bo less;
Through much tribulation must follow their Lord," See him there! Forty days he fasts and he hungers, See him again; he treads the weary way, and at last all athirst he sits upon the curb of the well of Sychar; and he the Lord of glory, he who holds the clouds in the hollow of his hand, said to a woman, “Give me to drink.”. And shall the servant be above his master, and the disciple above his Lord? If he suffered hunger, and thirst, and nakedness, O heir of poverty, be of good cheer; in all these thou hast fellowship with Jesus; therefore be comforted, and look unto him and be lightened.
Perhaps your trouble is of another caste. You have come here to-day smarting from the forked tongue of that adder_slander. Your character, though pure and spotlegs before God, seems to be lost before man; for that foul slanderous thing hath sought to take away that which is dearer to you than life itself, your character, your good fame; and you are this day filled with bitterness and made drunken with wormwood, because you have been accused of crimes which your soul loathes. Come, thou child of mourning, this indeed is a heavy blow; poverty is like Solomon's whip, but slander is like the scorpion of Rehoboam; to fall into the depths of poverty is to have it on thy little finger, but to be slandered is to have it on thy loins. But in all this thou mayest have comfort from Christ. Come and look unto him and be lightened. The King of kings was called a Samaritan; they said of him that he had a devil and was mad; and yet infinite wisdom dwelt in him, though he was charged with madness. And was he not ever pure and holy? And did they not call him a drunken man and a wine-bibber?' He was his Father's glorious Son; and yet they said he did cast out devils through Beelzebub the prince of the devils. Come, poor slandered one; wipe that tear away! “ If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call they of his household?” If they had honoured him, then might you have expected that they would honour you; but inasmuch as they mocked him and took away his glory and his character, blush not to bear the reproach and the shame, for he is with you, carrying his cross before you, and that cross was heavier than yours. Look, then, unto him and be lightened.
But I hear another say, “ Ah! but my trouble is worse than either of those. I am not to-day smarting from slander, nor am I burdened with penury; but, sit, the hand of God lies heavy upon me; he hath brought my sins to my remembrance; he hath taken away the bright shining of his countenance; once I did believe in him, and could read my title clear to mansions in the skies,' but to-day I am brought very low; he hath lifted me up and cast me down; like a wrestler, he has elevated me that he might dash me to the ground with the greater force; my bones are sore vexed, and my spirit within me is melted with anguish." Come, my tried brother, “Look unto him and be lightened." No longer groan over thine own miseries, but come thou with me and look unto him, if thou canst. Seest thou the garden of
Olives? . It is a cold night, and the ground is crisp beneath thy feet, for the frost is hard; and there, in the gloom of the olive garden, kneels thy Lord. Listen to him. Canst thou understand the music of his groans, the meaning of his sighs? Sure, thy griefs are not so heavy as his were, when drops of blood were forced through his skin, and a bloody sweat did stain the ground! Say, are thy wrestlings greater than his? If, then, he had to combat with the powers of darkness, expect to do so also; and look thou to him in the last solemn hour of his extremity, and hear him say, “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" And when thou hast heard that, murmur not, as though some strange thing had happened to thes, as if thou hast to join in his “lama sabbacthani,” and hast to sweat some few drops of his bloody sweat. “They looked unto him, and were lightened.”
But, possibly I may have here some one who is much persecuted by man. "Ab** saith one, “I cannot practice my religion with comfort. My friends have turned against me; I am mocked, and jeered, and reviled, for Christ's sake." Come, Christian, be not afraid of all this, but, “ look unto him, and be lightened." Remember how they persecuted him. Oh! think thou of the shame and spitting, the plucking off the hair, the reviling of the soldiers; think thou of that fearful march through the streets, when every man did hoot him, and when even they that were crucified with him did revile him. Hast thou been worse treated than he? Methinks this is enough to make you gird your armour on once more. Why need you blush to be as much dishonoured as your Master? It was this thought that cheered the martyrs of old. They that fought the bloody fight, knew they should win the blood-red crown—that ruby crown of martyrdom; therefore they did endure, as seeing him who is invisible; for this ever cheered and comforted them. They remembered him who had."endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, that they might not be weary or faint in their minds.” They “resisted unto blood, striving against sin;" for they knew their Master had done the same, and his example did comfort them. I am persuaded, beloved brothers and sisters, that if we looked more to Christ, our troubles would not become anything like so black. In the darkest night, looking to Christ, will clear the ebony sky; when the darkness seems thick, like that of Egypt, darkness that might be felt, like solid pillars of ebony, even then, like a bright lightning flash, as bright but not as transient, will a look to Jesus prove. One glimpse at him, may well suffice for all our toils, while on the road. Cheered by his voice, nerved by his strength, we are prepared to do and suffer, even as he did, to the death, if he will be with us, even unto the end. This, then, is our first point. We trust that those of you, who are weary Christians, will not forget to look unto him, and be lightened."
II. And now I have to invite you to a more dreary sight; but, strange it is, just as the sight becomes more black, so to us, does it grow more bright. The more deeply the Saviour, dived into the depths of misery, the brighter were the pearls which he brought up-the greater his griefs, the greater our joys, and the deeper his dishonour, the brighter our glories. Come, then—and this time I shall ask poor, doubting, trembling sinners and saints, to come with me,-come ye now to Calvary's cross. There, on the summit of that little hill, outside the gates of Jerusalem, where common criminals were ordinarily put to death-the Tyburn of Jerusalem, the Old Bailey of that city, where criminals were executed-there stand three crosses; the centre one is reserved for one who is reputed to be the greatest of criminals. See there! They have nailed him to the cross. It is the Lord of life and glory, before whose feet angels delight to pour full vials of glory. They have nailed him to the cross: he hangs there in mid-beaven, dying, bleeding; he is thirsty, and he cries. They bring him vinegar, and thrust it into his mouth. He is in suffering, and he needs sympathy, but they mock at him, and they say, “ He saved others; himself he cannot save.” They misquote his words; they challenge him now to destroy the temple, and build it in three days; while the very thing was being fulfilled, they taunt him with his powerlessness to accomplish it. Now see him, ere the veil is drawn over agonies too black for eye to behold. See him now! Was ever face marred like that face? Was ever heart so big with agony? And did eyes ever seem so pregnant with the fire of suffering, as those great wells of fiery agony? Come and behold him, come and look to him now. The sun is eclipsed, refusing to behold him! earth quakes; the dead rise; the horrors of his sufferings have startled earth itself,
“ He dies ! the friend of sinners dies ;.". And we invite you to look to this scene that you may be lightened. What are your doubts this morning
? Whatever they be, they can find a kind and fond solution here, by looking at Christ on the cross. You have come here, perhaps, doubting God's mercy; look to Christ upon the cross, and can you doubt it then? If God were not full of mercy, and plenteous in his compassion, would he have given his Son to bleed and die ? Think you, that a Father would rend his darling from his heart and nail him to a tree, that he might suffer an ignominious death for our sakes, and yet be hard, merciless, and without pity ? God forbid the impious thought! There must be mercy in the heart of God, or else there had never been a cross on Calvary. But do you
doubt God's power to save ? Are you saying in yourself this morning, “How can he forgive so great a sinner as I am?” Oh! look there, sinner, look there, to the great atonement made, to the utmost ransom paid. Dost thou think that that blood has not an efficacy to pardon and to justify. True, without that cross it had been an unanswerable question,—“How can God be just, and yet the justifier of the ungodly ?” But see there the bleeding substitute! and know that God has accepted his sufferings as an equivalent for the woes of all believers; and